Those of us who are conservative in our politics and outlook in life knew this was coming. Obama and the democrat leadership in Washington is, and has always been, a joke. We knew the world thought so. Now, Putin has rubbed our faces in the mess of that lack of leadership in Washington. Others around the world are taking advantage of that joke.
We are seeing the consequences of the democrat and liberal rape of our nation. We are astonishingly in debt. We have massive unemployment. Our borders are open to our enemies and criminals and our military has been eviscerated and is worn out. The military is being lead by political generals, useless and unable to lead and they are creating more dissension in the ranks. Just ten years ago we were the most powerful and recognized leader in the world. All that is gone. We’re now the mockery of the world and Putin has proved it.
By Ben Wolfgang – The Washington Times, Monday, March 17, 2014
President Obama on Monday slapped Russia with the kinds of economic sanctions not seen since the Cold War, but the administration’s supposed hard line was met with mockery and a “collective shrug” in Moscow, Kiev and Washington.
One day after Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, the White House and its partners in the European Union responded by targeting high-ranking officials in Moscow along with pro-Russian figures responsible for the unrest in Ukraine.
The move adds even more tension to a dramatic standoff between Russia and the West, but early signs suggest the latest round of sanctions will have little impact on Russian President Vladimir Putin as he moves toward annexation of Crimea and, some fear, an all-out invasion of Ukraine.
Even some of those directly affected by the U.S. and European sanctions laughed them off and openly mocked Mr. Obama.
“Comrade Obama, what should those who have neither accounts nor property abroad do? Have you not thought about it?” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said in a message on Twitter. He is one of the seven Russian officials directly targeted by the president in an executive order signed Monday morning. “I think the decree of the President of the United States was written by some joker.”
In Kiev, where a new government is trying to fend off Mr. Putin and prevent the loss of Crimea, reactions to the latest round of sanctions were lukewarm at best.
“The first reaction here … is sort of a collective shrug,” said Chris Miller, editor of the Kyiv Post who briefed reporters during a conference call hosted by the Wilson Center.
Mr. Miller said the sentiment is “these sanctions are too soft, too late. They don’t target those high up enough, closer to Putin.”
The prime minister of Crimea also blasted the U.S. president, tweeting a digitally altered picture of Mr. Obama in a Russian military uniform.
“Interestingly, after the success of the company in returning Crimea, Barack is getting the rank of colonel?” tweeted Sergey Aksyonov.
Despite all of that criticism, the White House is sticking by its strategy and arguing that the sanctions will have a dramatic impact.
Look at that last paragraph. No one, not in Crimea, nor Russia, nor here, believes these sanctions on…how many, a dozen of Putin’s flunkies, will work. What else has Obama done? He sent a flight of F-16s to Poland. Yawn.
Now they have been invaded and territory seized by a resurgent Russia eager to rebuild the old Soviet Empire. What has the West done? Nothing. If it weren’t so credible, I’d say we’re reliving Neville Chamberlain returning home after giving Czechoslovakia to Hitler prior to World War II.
“Peace in our time,” Chamberlain said. Yeah, for a few months and no one was prepared to stop Hitler before the world was engulfed in war.
Michael Simkins, Updated: March 15, 2014 18:29:00
Decades of Soviet domination may have left this southern corner of Ukraine looking a bit beaten up around the edges, but my overriding feeling was that this was a place that was waking from a long, deep sleep.
The port of Sebastopol had an air of wistfulness that only places with a rich and brutal history can manage, while a visit to the defunct subterranean Russian submarine base in nearby Balaclava bay was made even more attractive by the low cost of admission and the fact that the only other visitors to the attraction were a couple from Slough.
Similarly memorable were afternoons spent at the Tsar’s Livadia Palace on the shores of the Black Sea, and Checkov’s dacha, a beautiful sunlit villa high in the hills above Yalta, in which he wrote his incomparable play The Cherry Orchard. Crimea, clearly, was the next great European tourist destination. I could only bless my luck that I’d got in before it was all sanitised for the package holiday industry that would inevitably follow with Ukraine’s sublimation into European politics and culture.
But that was then. With dizzying speed the region has been occupied, liberated or annexed (according to your view) by Russian troops and, with the EU and America still fumbling for a response, the Crimean government has called a referendum, due to be conducted today, to ask its inhabitants whether it should rejoin the Russian Federation.
Most tellingly, the wording of the ballot paper offers no choice for preserving the current status quo. There are only two questions on it: do you wish to join the Russian Federation now, or choose to become independent?
From the Kremlin’s point of view, the overthrow of the democratically elected government in Kiev last month was nothing less than a western-inspired plot, one that has left the millions of Russian-speaking inhabitants in Crimea and eastern Ukraine isolated and vulnerable. To those on the other side of the political divide, Russia’s occupation is a barefaced land grab.
What is undeniable is that Vladimir Putin’s bold strategy has wrong-footed the West. His opponents are threatening to impose sanctions, but who would they really hurt? With the world’s economies so inextricably entwined, there’s scarcely a country in Europe whose own balance of payments wouldn’t be disrupted by a trade embargo. And yet the only other option, military intervention to prop up the teetering Ukrainian government, is unthinkable.
In London on Friday John Kerry, the US secretary of state, and Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, held last-ditch talks in an attempt to diffuse the situation before today’s deadline. But with the referendum so close at hand, the talks were never likely to prosper. Six hours spent in private consultation brought no major breakthrough. After the collapse of the talks Mr Kerry warned Russia of “very serious steps” if it annexes Crimea.
Strong words of course, and yet it all seems too little, too late. Indeed, a full two days before the ballot, the Russian flag was already flying above the entrance to the Crimean Parliament in the provincial capital, Simferopol, while street signs were being methodically altered from the Ukrainian language into Russian. Somebody somewhere already knows the outcome.
And with civil unrest already igniting in cities such as Donetsk, and Russian troops conducting military manoeuvres on Ukraine’s eastern border, the fear is that annexing Crimea may well prove the curtain raiser to a far more turbulent future for central Europe. The prospect of this beautiful and doleful country being torn apart once more by forces beyond its control is too dreadful to contemplate; yet it now seems a genuine possibility.
When Nazi Germany annexed the area of German-speaking Czechoslovakia known as the Sudetenland in spring 1938, the response from the now discredited British prime minister Neville Chamberlain summed up the parochial view of many to events in central Europe at the time. He described the incident as “a quarrel in a faraway country between people of which we know nothing”. Modern politicians would do well to learn from Mr Chamberlain’s folly.
As so many have said, history is cyclical. When we don’t study history, examine the parallels to current events, examine the consequences of history in those parallels, we repeat the errors and mistakes of the past. I believe, we are about to repeat one of those errors. This time, instead of Britain being the one in peril, it will be us.